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PGA Tour: The "Honda": Driver's Seat or On Yer Bike?: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:35 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).Seems early in the season but the best consecutive streak of courses played on Tour ends at three as the Tour waves goodbye to California for a couple of months and goes coast-to-coast, to Florida. This week also signifies the end of the first one third (give or take a decimal point or so) of the PGA Tour season.

2).There are 47 PGA Tour events, played during 43 weeks, but there are only 39 weeks of tournament play before the FedEx Play-Offs begin for the Tour's Top 125 Points getters.
So golfers who have scarcely played this season only have approx 26 weeks left to secure a Play-Off place, and earn a "card" for next year; deduct one week off that for each of three Majors, a TPC and WGC:MatchPlay event you miss; plus limited field "Invitationals" that might not invite you!

3).Got that? Hope some of the Tour's overseas players have figured it out as some will have to play an intensive schedule, or gamble on reaching that Top 125. Points threshold will likely be a dozen either side of 500 FedEx points.
(Strongly suspect that one or two (Scott? Stenson?) won't give a damn, but for most it's crucial.)

4).Overseas golfers who are behind the pace they need to squeeze in the mandated 15 PGA Tour events include, by number played thru last week:
3).Garcia, Westwood, Poulter, Donaldson, Schwartzel, Els.
2).Rose
1).McDowell, Kaymer, Scott, Oosthuizen, Stenson, Dubuisson.

5).Let's imagine how Westwood will reach, say, 14:
Honda, WGC:Cadillac, Bay Hill or Houston, Masters, Quail Hollow and/or Memorial, WGC: MatchPlay, TPC, US Open (he should qualify for Chambers Bay), Open Championship (if he qualifies, EDIT: He IS qualified, Tks SJ), Bridgestone, PGA Championship.
That gets him to 14 or 15 and, with a running start, he should achieve the Top 125.
Hopefully Donaldson knows his way around the PGA Tour to manage his schedule appropriately. Poults and Schwartzel will play where/what they have to, and there are enough tournaments that Sergio and Ernie usually play for them not to be too concerned.

6).Rose should also be OK, but what about the onesies?
Oosthuizen has a 5-year exemptions which will expire this year, so Top 125 is imperative for him, and he and Dubuisson are going to have to play some unfamiliar courses if they are to satisfy 15 tournaments AND Top 125. Early days of course, but they need to get their thinking caps on or they'll be on their bikes.

7).So: Who's in the "driver's seat"?
Top overseas golfers so far are Sang-Moon Bae and Jason Day, and Hideki Matsuyama.
Top Europeans, with FedEx Points-to-date are:
416: Martin Laird
358: Garcia
354: Knox
317: Casey
212: Lingmerth
192: Cejka
165: Westwood
Most of the rest will be OK, but there will be a surprise failure or two, there always is.
(Sterne won't be a surprise failure; he's played 6 events, missed every cut, and doesn't even have a profile page on pgatour.com. The ultimate dis?)

8).Lots of golfers "lost" last week's Northern Trust LA Open before James Hahn won it, Goosen and Garcia of course, but also Casey and Dustin Johnson with late bogeys, while Jordan Spieth can't be too pleased with bogeying his 72nd hole to fall out of a potential play-off. Two thoughts:
~Was Paul Casey's match-play expertise his play-off undoing? He sees DJ and Hahn in highly bogeyable positions on #10 and plays it relatively safe. So they produce worldies to make birdie, and Casey is left with a lonely walk back to the club-house.
~And: The PGA Tour made something of a mockery of the great "short par-4" 10th hole with its set-up for Rounds 1, 2 and 3 when conditions were pretty hard and fast and the green was beyond fiery. Conventional wisdom seems to be that the green will have to be re-done to prevent the carnage (not all of it self-inflicted) that messed up so many rounds.

9).One American golfer doing very nicely thank you on the European Tour is Paul Peterson. He's already played 3 tournaments as an affiliate member and risen to 38th on the R2D. Love to see the recent US contribution to the European Tour, and very interested to see how Koepka fares in his home State this coming month.

10).Back to "Bermuda" greens this week so the recent form book may be turned upside down. Terrific European contingent on hand and it could have been larger still if European Tour Cadillac contestants had succeeded in Monday qualifying, Marcel Siem, Alex Levy and Mikko Ilonen all coming up short; good for them for giving it a whirl though, hope they do well next week and show that they deserved a chance in the Honda field.
It's going to be warm this week, but characteristically breezy and, perhaps stormy.
Let's hope there's another European (Freddie Jac e.w.?) or two who puts himself in the Tour's driver's seat at an event that's favoured non-Americans in recent years. No European wins this season so far. Overdue!


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Post by super_realist Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:15 pm

GunsGerms wrote:
super_realist wrote:He's also got a career which spans the best part of two decades. His Ryder Cup performances have been comparable to the American players at best, and he's been in the golfing desert for the last 7 years.

Far be it for me to defend Mac, but Harrington (in the last 7 years at least, which I think is what Mac was alluding to) hasn't been very good, very often at all.

We get it you don't like him. His career record speaks for itself though.

I've nothing against him at all, seems a perfectly fine person, but not even a Leprechaun could claim his last 7 years have been good ones.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:51 pm

Confirmation that the WGC:MatchPlay will be sponsored by Dell Computers for the next four years, 2016-2019, and staged in Austin, Texas, at the end of March. Speculation that 2016 will see it played at Austin CC but no confirmation yet.

A great shame that it's not travelling around the World, can't figure out why Volvo didn't pick it up, but better to have a tournament in Texas than lose the event completely.

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Post by GunsGerms Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:16 am

super_realist wrote:
GunsGerms wrote:
super_realist wrote:He's also got a career which spans the best part of two decades. His Ryder Cup performances have been comparable to the American players at best, and he's been in the golfing desert for the last 7 years.

Far be it for me to defend Mac, but Harrington (in the last 7 years at least, which I think is what Mac was alluding to) hasn't been very good, very often at all.

We get it you don't like him. His career record speaks for itself though.

I've nothing against him at all, seems a perfectly fine person, but not even a Leprechaun could claim his last 7 years have been good ones.

I said his career has been very good. The fact that he has had a slump in his career just makes his win this week all the more impressive.

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Post by super_realist Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:27 am

And I was perfectly clear that we referring to him not being very good very often in the last 7 years, which he hasn't been, his career record wasn't being discussed.

If I was to say Manchester United aren't very good very often, you'd probably agree, because at present, they aren't. You wouldn't dredge up ancient history and state how good they were 7 years ago.

Harrington hasn't been very good very often unless you go back a very very long time, but that's not the way conversation about sport generally go.

Good for him on winning this week though.

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Post by GunsGerms Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:31 am

super_realist wrote:And I was perfectly clear that we referring to him not being very good very often in the last 7 years, which he hasn't been, his career record wasn't being discussed.

If I was to say Manchester United aren't very good very often, you'd probably agree, because at present, they aren't. You wouldn't dredge up ancient history and state how good they were 7 years ago.

Harrington hasn't been very good very often unless you go back a very very long time, but that's not the way conversation about sport generally go.

Good for him on winning this week though.

Jesus re-read what you said. You opened up by referencing his whole career.

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Post by super_realist Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:43 am

Indeed, but I was explicit, that Mac was referring to his last 7 years.

If he was "very good very often" it would be over his entire career (hence why I mentioned it being 20 years in duration), and not in the golfing doldrums for at least a third of it.

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Post by GunsGerms Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:54 am

I suppose when you appraise his career your opinion will depend whether you are happy to settle for a steady above average and very comfortable career or have the courage to take risks and aim for the very top. To be the best you have to be willing to improve all the time rather than settle for consolidating what you have got.

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Post by super_realist Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:01 am

Guns, I agree, he's had a superb career, 3 majors and lots of other tournament wins is something that 99% of all professionals would love to have had, I simply think he hasn't been very good, very often in the last half dozen or so years.

I've always wondered why him and Donald felt the need to change a winning formula. Both were at the top of the game for a while, and both ruined it with needless changes.



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Post by GunsGerms Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:03 am

Could it be because players are getting better all the time and they were just trying to stay ahead of the curve?

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:11 am

BBC reporting that Royal St George's now open to female membership.
Hope Plunky, LadyPutt, gael, Mary and any others out there receive their invitations soon.

Is Muirfield the only remaining outlier?

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Post by super_realist Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:13 am

GunsGerms wrote:Could it be because players are getting better all the time and they were just trying to stay ahead of the curve?

Perhaps, but you'd think that if you are winning 3 majors in 2 seasons you wouldn't want to make big changes, similarly if you are the most consistent golfer in the world, again you wouldn't want to change much.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:20 am

Cool to see the British Masters return to the golfing calendar, but it could be cool in October for the resumption of the tournament at Woburn, hosted by Ian Poulter. Apparently Messrs Donald, Rose and Westwood will host the following three years.
The first piece of a very challenging puzzle in restoring some substance to the European Tour?

Not sure whether Montgomerie has ever been a tournament host, shame on him if he hasn't, but with these guys, Paul Lawrie, DC in the past and Rory all stepping forward, perhaps better days are coming?

Wouldn't it be something if other GB&I distinguished players of past and present could follow in these footsteps. McGinley, Howell, Casey, Lyle, Woosie, Torrance etc, etc.

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Post by LadyPutt Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:37 am

kwinigolfer wrote:BBC reporting that Royal St George's now open to female membership.
Hope Plunky, LadyPutt, gael, Mary and any others out there receive their invitations soon.

Is Muirfield the only remaining outlier?
As a resident of Kent (almost) I would be expecting an invitation in the post - but I won't hold my breath!

I think Muirfield and Royal Troon are the exceptions now. Interesting that they are both in Scotland where I plan to retire next year Rolling Eyes
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Post by JAS Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:46 am

...didn't Kaymer succumb to trying to change his natural game to (I.e. He's a natural fader but wanted to be able to draw specifically for Augusta).

Going way back, Sandy Lyle also buggered his natural talent up by going to Leadbetter after he won the Masters.

Then of course there's 9c. It's taken 4 coaches to ruin him but they finally did it!!!

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Post by JAS Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:06 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Cool to see the British Masters return to the golfing calendar, but it could be cool in October for the resumption of the tournament at Woburn, hosted by Ian Poulter. Apparently Messrs Donald, Rose and Westwood will host the following three years.
The first piece of a very challenging puzzle in restoring some substance to the European Tour?

Not sure whether Montgomerie has ever been a tournament host, shame on him if he hasn't, but with these guys, Paul Lawrie, DC in the past and Rory all stepping forward, perhaps better days are coming?

Wouldn't it be something if other GB&I distinguished players of past and present could follow in these footsteps. McGinley, Howell, Casey, Lyle, Woosie, Torrance etc, etc.

Hell yeah!! I'd love Howeller to bring an ET event to Broome Manor. We did have a small taste of it 7-8 years ago when he organised a well supported and attended Pro Am.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:07 pm

JAS,
Great news that he qualified for St.Andrews . . . . . . .

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Post by LadyPutt Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:01 pm

JAS wrote:...didn't Kaymer succumb to trying to change his natural game to (I.e. He's a natural fader but wanted to be able to draw specifically for Augusta).

Going way back, Sandy Lyle also buggered his natural talent up by going to Leadbetter after he won the Masters.

Then of course there's 9c. It's taken 4 coaches to ruin him but they finally did it!!!
Faldo was another one who went to Leadbetter, changed his swing (OK it worked for a while) and then, when things started to go wrong, found he was so mechanical he was unable to find his natural swing any more. Kaymer, on the other hand, has managed to find his "old" swing again and that's why he's playing better.

I quite agree - why tinker with something that works?
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Post by super_realist Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:12 pm

I suppose it's a bit like the old driving scenario, when ever we are hitting it well, we always try and squeeze a bit more out of it, instead of carrying on with what works.
Rarely works though.

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Post by McLaren Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:25 pm

Wasn't Els coached by Leadbetter at some point? Possibly during his 1 week at number 1.
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Post by super_realist Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:32 pm

I thought Lehman was the only player who was #1 for a solitary week?

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Post by MustPuttBetter Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:41 pm

Els spent lots of weeks at number 1
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Post by McLaren Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:56 pm

Apparently Els spent 9 weeks at number 1.
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Post by super_realist Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:57 pm

That's 8 more than you claimed.

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Post by McLaren Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:02 pm

I know, I just corrected what I said. My main point was that Els was a prominent Leadbetter disciple. I was wondering if Leadbetter coached him to world number 1?

I have a feeling Nick Price was also coached by Leadbetter, possibly when he got to number one as well.
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Post by super_realist Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:08 pm

I thought you were being snooty Mac.

Seems Leadbetter is a bit of a snake oil salesman.

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Post by MustPuttBetter Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:16 pm

I got given a 4 DVD Leadbetter box set for Christmas. Watched about 10 mins and can't bring myself to watch anymore
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Post by JAS Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:17 pm

There's no doubt Leadbetter is a top coach and many with some basic swing flaws would have benefitted greatly from him. However in coaching it's simply not a case of one size fits all at the top level.
Guys like Lyle & Els with large amounts of natural talent had much much less to gain from working with him. Easy to say in hindsight, they probably thought that they'd be getting the cherry on the icing on the cake as it were.

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Post by McLaren Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:21 pm

Looking up Ernie's weeks at number 1 I noticed an interesting fact. McIlroy is already 4th on the list of total major wins in the OWGR era.

A ranking of total majors Since April 1986

Tiger 14
Faldo 6
Mickelson 5
Rory/Els 4
Price/Stewart/VJ/Harrington 3
Norman/seve/Jose maria/Strange/cabrera/O'Meara/Goosen/Janzen/Gerry/Kaymer/Daly 2

I wonder if we should talk about the OWGR era more often when having the greatest of all time and where players stand in history debates.  I think there are possibly 4 era's of top level golf.

Up to 1930
1930-1960
1960-1986
1986 - present

In this context I feel more confident in saying phil Mickelson is easily one of the ten best golfers ever, given how well he has performed in the most competitive era of golf.  And why it makes no sense to compare McIlroy to jacks total of 18.


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Post by JAS Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:25 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:JAS,
Great news that he qualified for St.Andrews . . . . . . .

Yes it is, made it difficult for himself but got there. The ability is certainly there for him to go on a bit of a run if he can cut out the calamity holes . Ultimately, the triple on Fri cost him the tournament .

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Post by super_realist Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:27 pm

Howell has already won at St.Andrews. He'd be a very popular winner, especially if he shot 254.

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Post by incontinentia Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:39 pm

I think it has been mentioned here before but its rumoured that Anthony Kim has an insurance policy that will pay out if he never plays on tour again.

If he returns to the PGA Tour he would have to earn roughly $35 million to match what the insurance policy would pay him.

He earned around $10 million from 2008-2010.

What would you do in his situation?
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Post by GunsGerms Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:41 pm

incontinentia wrote:I think it has been mentioned here before but its rumoured that Anthony Kim has an insurance policy that will pay out if he never plays on tour again.

If he returns to the PGA Tour he would have to earn roughly $35 million to match what the insurance policy would pay him.

He earned around $10 million from 2008-2010.

What would you do in his situation?

Go to Vegas and get a load of hookers probably.

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Post by JAS Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:48 pm

super_realist wrote:Howell has already won at St.Andrews. He'd be a very popular winner, especially if he shot 254.

Lol, I'll ask him if he thinks it's possible

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:54 pm

"Go to Vegas and get a load of hookers"?
Isn't that what he's done?
There's kind of an omerta about him these days; the NBC guys tried to get his college team-mate Martin Flores to talk about him last week and he clammed up.

With his talent, he could make another $35M in two years if he dedicated himself to it, and the rest of his life could be an annuity living off the proceeds - doubt there's much of the original pay-out left.

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Post by incontinentia Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:34 pm

It'll be very disappointing if Kim doesn't play again. One of the most exciting players in a while. Like you say kwini, everyone's keeping schtum, except anonomous sources.
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Post by super_realist Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:44 pm

He had a mullet, good riddance.

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Post by incontinentia Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:49 pm

There is a correlation between mullet ownership and Masters success. Gerard Watson an early favourite for Masters 2015.
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Post by navyblueshorts Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:15 am

incontinentia wrote:It'll be very disappointing if Kim doesn't play again. One of the most exciting players in a while. Like you say kwini, everyone's keeping schtum, except anonomous sources.
Exciting? Yes. Apparent cretin? Yes. If it's true re. the insurance, he's a snake but I can sort of understand why he'd be doing it. Guess he was never interested in golf - just money.
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Post by Lairdy Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:00 pm

I'd be disappointed if Kim doesn't play again and in a 3-ball with Allenby and Woods. Oh the things they could talk about! It'd be like group therapy.

Sorry if anyone's mentioned it on the back of Paddy's slow play but has no one accused him of deliberately slow balling, well... everyone? Poults is a fast player, I think Reed is and the commentary mentioned Berger was quick. Gamesmanship or unsporting or just oblivious? Whatever it was Paddy took slow play to a new level and is receiving relatively low flack for it. Nevertheless, it was a great watch (if you'd recorded it).

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Post by MustPuttBetter Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:05 pm

Completely agreed Lairdy, I thought he might get some stick for it but none really.
On the first playoff hole, when both Harrington and Berger were over their 2nd shots, Harrington took so long ("so it's 185?") that when he hit his shot, Berger played almost instantly. Their balls almost landed at the same time!
If you're a quick player, playing with someone like him has got to affect you
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Post by super_realist Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:09 pm

On tour is it permitted for a player to play "out of turn"?

Let's say we've got a slow player out with 2 others, is there anything to stop the two quick players playing when they want and simply walking ahead of the slow player?

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:11 pm

Would agree Lairdy, but Poults can be pretty bl00dy slow when he has options to consider or when he and Terry get out of sync - he took forever with his drops, enough to make anyone try gamesmanship in retaliation.
Can't believe they weren't put on the clock though . . . .

Good work once again by Russell Knox.

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Post by incontinentia Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:14 pm

super_realist wrote:On tour is it permitted for a player to play "out of turn"?

Let's say we've got a slow player out with 2 others, is there anything to stop the two quick players playing when they want and simply walking ahead of the slow player?
I think Rory Sabbatini did that a few years ago when playing with Ben Crane, maybe kwini can confirm.
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Post by super_realist Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:18 pm

SUrely it's up to the slow player to keep up with play? If they pressed on and were putting the flag in before the 3rd player was even hitting the green it would soon speed them up.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:39 pm

inco,
Ooh, Yes!
Had forgotten about that - think it was at Congressional, perhaps the first time they played the AT&T there, possibly before they reconfigured the back nine as I'm pretty sure he played the 18th hole while Crane was still faffing around.
Good move, but only served to make Sabbatini even more unpopular!

I DO think Harrington is totally self-absorbed, sure he's oblivious of his slow play . . . . .

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Post by super_realist Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:45 pm

I'm surprised people saw that as unpopular, I suppose the problem comes where the slow player is marking one of the other cards

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Post by Lairdy Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:46 pm

Harrington seemed to go out of turn on the 18th first time round didnt he? Commentary mentioned Poults must have offered. Cant figure out why?

Yes, I think Paddy is one who will never speed up. If I'm paired with a slow player (and if far enough away) I like to start my routine as they are over the ball. My ball taking off before theirs has settled usually sends the right message! Would love to see that on the TV!

Yes, Knox seems to be hanging around. Beemer on the skysports coverage (which is night and day compared to the US feed) reckons he'll win soon. While we are on Scots I saw you mention Monty hosting kwini - I think he did one in Turkey tail end of last year?

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Post by McLaren Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:52 pm

So the rules on tour allow you to play out of turn?

Is this is the case why do the players bother to wait for the really slow guys?
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Post by super_realist Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:55 pm

I presume because they'd only end up waiting on the next hole for the group in front.

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Post by skiddy Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:59 pm

Probably because theyre all slow. When Poulter is called a 'quick' player you know almost everybody on the pga tour is slow.

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